Practical Nursing

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Diploma (2 Year)
Campus: Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Moosonee, Timmins
Program Length: 4 Semesters

Program Codes
H117 (PC) – Timmins Campus
H129 (HL) – Haileybury Campus
H118 (KL) – Kirkland Lake Campus
H127 (JB) – Moosonee Campus

Transform your love of people into a career

Thanks to Northern’s two-year Practical Nursing diploma, you’ll be ready to start the healthcare career you’ve always dreamed of.

You’ll learn about the diagnostic process and the role of education in promoting health and wellness. You’ll hone your communication and leadership skills.

And – from minor scrapes to complex health challenges, and even palliative care – you’ll gradually develop a holistic approach to nursing, and the capacity to provide care and comfort to patients with varying conditions at all stages of life.

At every step along the way, you’ll practice new skills within our state-of-the-art training facility. And you’ll top it all off with an eight-week placement that marks the official start to your career as a caring and competent practitioner.

Practical Nursing is a is a 2-year (4 semester) program leading to an Ontario college diploma in Practical Nursing. Northern College’s Practical Nursing program has received a Category 1 Program Approval  from the College of Nurses of Ontario. Northern College delivers the current diploma program standards that meet the national Entry to Practice Competencies to prepare graduates for the Regulatory Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN).

Northern’s Practical Nursing program holds as its philosophy a set of beliefs and values based on five key concepts: the client, health, caring, nursing, and the role that teaching and learning play in enabling individuals and their families and groups to achieve health outcomes. These concepts are interrelated, interdependent and integrated throughout the curriculum. Registered Practical Nurses work with individuals, families and groups (autonomously or in consultation with nursing and other team members) to plan, implement, and evaluate outcomes-based nursing care, services and programs that promote health and rehabilitation, prevent injury and disease, maintain and restore health, and provide palliation.

Career Opportunities
Graduates may find employment opportunities in acute/long term care centres (hospitals – may include critical/intensive care, dialysis, emergency, maternity, medical, mental health, oncology, operating room, recovery, rehabilitation/restore, surgical), clinics/ doctors’ offices, community agencies (home care, long-term care agencies), correctional health care, hospice/palliative care, industry, mental health services, occupational health, public health, street nursing, travel nursing, and more.

Contact Information

For questions about being admitted into the program, please contact Northern College Admissions at or by phone at 705-235-3211 ext. 7222.

For questions about the content of the program, contact the Program Coordinator.

Timmins Campus
Shelly Hosman
Tel: 705-235-3211 x7289

Kirkland Lake Campus & Haileybury Campus
Kathy Whelan
705-567-9291 ext. 3737

Admission Requirements

Program Specific Requirements

Practical Nursing Clinical Requirements

Practical Nursing Requirements (International)


General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 English (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
  • Grade 11 Math (C, M, U) (Minimum 65%)

Or equivalent


Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or

Additional Requirements for International Students

In addition to the general admission requirements, international students must have proof of English Proficiency and meet the requirements below.

1. Proof of Senior High School Diploma/Certificate with 65% in each equivalents for Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology.

2. English Proficiency (we will require one of the following):

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System – minimum overall score of 6.5 must be achieved, with no individual band score under 6.0.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – Internet Based Test (iBT) overall minimum score of 88+
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic 60+

If your country of citizenship has English as its official language, we may accept alternate proof of English Proficiency.

All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact

Additional Information

Below are admission requirements and/or forms that have to be completed before start of the semester or the date specified.

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Practical Nursing and Personal Support Worker programs, in order to be permitted to attend clinical hours.

Students who do not comply with the immunization requirements will not be allowed into the practice settings and as such will not be able to complete the Practicum required for graduation from the program. CPR re-certification, criminal reference checks and immunization updates are required annually and must be completed prior to the start of classes each fall for students to be able to participate in required clinical placements. Any costs for these tests/certifications will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Students are responsible for the cost of appropriate uniforms and equipment (e.g. stethoscope, watch, pen, etc.) required for the clinical area as well as transportation to practicum placements. Mask fit testing will be provided by the College prior to clinical practice. Upon successful completion of all courses outlined in the program of study (including a minimum of 65% in core Nursing courses), the student is eligible to write the REx-PN as set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario. Students will be informed of the cost of this examination to be paid to the College of Nurses of Ontario, and it is their responsibility to pay this fee by the designated dates. Resources customized to prepare students to write the REx-PN are embedded within the curriculum of the 2nd year courses, and the cost remains the responsibility of the student.

As of January 1, 2005, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) requires all applicants for registration or reinstatement from within Canada to provide a recent Canadian Police Information Centre Criminal Record Synopsis (CPIC check) and Vulnerable Sector check as part of the registration process. The CPIC check registration requirement enhances public protection by allowing CNO to identify those who have criminal records that could affect their suitability to practice nursing. Students should also review the CNO document “Requisite Skills and Abilities for Nursing Practice in Ontario” for information the skills and abilities that must be demonstrated to become a nurse in Ontario. As noted in this document, applicants who have questions about whether or not they have the requisite skills and abilities to be registered as an RN or RPN should contact the CNO to explore the kinds of supports they might require.

Semester 1
BI1003 Anatomy and Physiology I

This course introduces learners to the normal development, structures and functions of the human body. Learners will examine the physiological components of the human body in order to obtain understanding of how the structures and functions of the body are related.

CM1913 Communications I – Model B

Communications 1 is designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as required in academic and workplace settings. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork, and presentation skills. Topics covered include the three-step writing process, paragraph development, academic integrity, essay composition, grammar and mechanics, A.P.A. and employment documents. Attention to detail is emphasized.

GN1443 Indigenous Culture and Awareness

This general education course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian Indigenous Nations’ history, sovereignty, land titles, cultural history and current critical issues. Topics addressed include the content of Indigenous rights, economic and social development, community and political processes, and business law and policies, justice & social services. Canadian Indigenous History and Relations is a general education course that has been incorporated into all programs at Northern College.

PN1004 Nursing Practice I

This course will provide the learner with opportunities to apply concepts and knowledge gained in the classroom environment to clinical practice settings. The emphasis will be on the promotion of health and wellness of individuals throughout the lifespan. The learner will be introduced to various skills required by individuals in selected age groups through simulation, practice in laboratory and a paediatric teaching-learning experience. Students are expected to work independently to gain an understanding of medical terminology and basic mathematical skills.

PN1033 Human Relationships

In this course, students will engage in effective professional relationships with clients and colleagues. With a focus on communication skills, students will learn to: build therapeutic relationships, provide person-centered care, work within an interprofessional team, and manage conflict within the workplace. These skills will be taught with a sensitivity to diversity, values, beliefs, and cultural practices. Stress management techniques will be reviewed to highlight the importance of self-care when working in healthcare.


PN1063 Professional Growth I

This course provides an introduction to the profession of nursing. It explores the philosophy of nursing, nursing theories, the evolution of nursing and the role of nurses in today’s society. Learners are introduced to nursing professionalism, Ontario’s regulatory body for nursing, and the importance of reflective practice in nursing. Learners will examine personal learning styles and teaching and learning. Health and nursing informatics are introduced and learners will gain skills in using electronic databases to find scholarly nursing literature. Nursing research is also introduced, and students have the opportunity to analyze nursing research studies and gain an understanding of the relationship between nursing theory, practice and research.

PN1073 Nursing Theory I

This course will introduce the learner to the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of health and healthy lifestyles. The dimensions of human needs will be explored with an emphasis on the significance of self-responsibility, culture and the change process.

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

Semester 2
BI2013 Anatomy and Physiology II

A continuation of Anatomy and Physiology I, this course continues with the study of the major body systems, from the nervous system to the reproductive systems. The unifying themes of the interrelationships of body organ system, homeostasis, and the complementary nature of structure and function will provide the basis for understanding the workings of the human body.

PN2017 Nursing Practice II

This course further explores the concept of health promotion and health protection with well individuals. Learners will gain basic assessment and nursing skills required to care for the individuals in selected age groups. The course will consist of three components: independent learning, laboratory practice and clinical experience within community agencies.

PN2023 Health Assessment

This course will provide the learner with the skills required to conduct a holistic health assessment for a normal healthy individual during all stages of the lifespan. The concepts of wellness, health promotion, health protection, and client teaching will be integrated throughout the course.

PN2043 Nursing Theory II

This course will focus on health promotion and health protection strategies for selected individuals across the lifespan related to individuals, families, groups and communities. This course will also examine the evolution of Canada’s health care system.

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

Semester 3
PN1014 Pathophysiology I

The focus of this course is on the pathophysiology of acute episodic and complex health challenges. The student will study the structural and functional changes that occur in the human body, the causes that lead to the challenges and the manifestations that result.

PN1053 Pharmacology I

Using the nursing process this course introduces the learner to the concepts of pharmacology as selected drug groups are studied. The course will emphasize the role and responsibilities of the practical nurse in the administration and monitoring of client medications. This course is also designed to allow the learner to apply basic skills to safely calculate drug dosages.

PN3016 Nursing Practice III

This course will provide the learner with opportunities to examine the role of the practical nurse when caring for individuals with health challenges. The learner will utilize critical thinking skills to plan and implement holistic nursing care. This experience will take place in the laboratory setting and in a variety of medical-surgical areas.

PN3023 Professional Growth II

This course will prepare the learner for entry into the workplace through exploration of leadership, conflict resolution and advocacy. Leadership and management roles within health care will be examined. The process of transition from student to nurse will be explored.

PN3033 Nursing Theory III

This course will focus on assisting the learner to develop an holistic approach to nursing. A variety of approaches to learning will be utilized and critical thinking strategies will be emphasized as the learner explores the care of individuals and families experiencing and/or predisposed to acute health challenges in a variety of life situations.

Semester 4
PN2014 Pathophysiology II

Continuing from PN1014, this course focuses on episodic and chronic health challenges. The structural and functional changes and the manifestations that result from alterations in the following body systems will be explored: genitourinary, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, integumentary, sensory and mental health.

PN2033 Pharmacology II

This course is a continuation of Pharmacology I. More selected drug groups are studied. The focus of this course is still on the role and responsibilities of the practical nurse in the administration and monitoring of client medications. The mathematical skills to safely calculate drug dosages are still required for this course. This course utilizes experiential learning therefore, classroom activities will focus on the interactions, which take place between and among the learners. The facilitator will guide learning in the role of the expert learner as everyone actively participates in learning activities. To positively contribute to the group process you are expected to come prepared for discussion and discovery. This interactive process requires your attendance for all activities.

PN4004 Nursing Theory IV

In this course the learner will continue to develop a holistic approach to nursing. A variety of approaches to learning will be utilized. Drawing upon knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, physical assessment, the therapeutic nurse-client relationship and clinical experience to date, learners will employ critical thinking skills to better understand the clinical manifestations, diagnostic process, nursing assessment and care of clients who are experiencing selected acute and or chronic mental and physical health challenges, includes individuals, families, groups and communities.

PN4019 Nursing Practice IV

This course will provide the learner with opportunities to examine the role of practical nurse when caring for individuals who require supportive, rehabilitative and palliative care. The learner will also be exposed to individuals with mental health challenges. Critical thinking skills will be refined to plan and implement holistic nursing care. This experience will take place in the laboratory setting and in a variety of medical-surgical settings.

PN5010 Nursing Practice V

This experience will take place in nursing practice settings, which will be selected through a collaborative approach to meet the student’s learning needs. The experience will consist of one eight-week experience either in an acute care setting or a chronic care setting. The focus will be to consolidate learning and to function independently when caring for clients and their families in situations where the number of variables is limited and the outcome tends to be predictable. During this practicum, the student will work with a preceptor. Upon completion, the learner will be ready to graduate as a beginning caring, competent practitioner.

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